Dynamic Program Offers Practice-Changing Content

With sessions designed for the entire specialty, as well targeted content by discipline and career level, STS 2021 will offer a plethora of topics that resonate with physicians, residents, and all other members of the cardiothoracic surgery team.

Must-See Keynote Lectures

Intriguing and inspiring keynote speakers will take the virtual stage each day of the Annual Meeting. 

C. Walton Lillehei Lecture

Paul G. Yock, MD
“The (Radically) Changing Landscape of Medical Technology Innovation”
Friday, January 29, 2:00 p.m. ET

Dr. Yock is the Martha Meier Weiland Professor at Stanford Medicine in California and professor of bioengineering at Stanford University. He also is the founder and director of Stanford Biodesign—an in-depth training program aimed at engaging innovators in reimagining health care with technology. Dr. Yock is known for his work in inventing, developing, and testing new devices, including the Rapid Exchange angioplasty balloon/stenting system. While sharing his experience and vision, he will speak about innovation in cardiothoracic surgery. 

Vivien T. Thomas Lecture

Quinn Capers IV, MD
“The Long Shadow of Racism and Racial Bias in the Lack of Diversity in Medicine and Surgery: A Prescription for the Future”
Friday, January 29, 6:30 p.m. ET

Dr. Capers is the associate dean for faculty diversity and vice chair of diversity, equity, inclusion in the Department of Internal Medicine at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. A passionate advocate for diversity enhancement in medicine as a strategy to reduce health care disparities, he has led workshops that collectively have trained more than 1,000 physicians and health care providers. His talk will focus on the importance of diversity in medicine.

Thomas B. Ferguson Lecture

Enrico Ruffini, MD, Craig R. Smith Jr., MD, and Alan D.L. Sihoe, MD, MA, FRCSEd
“Personal Reflections from COVID-19”
Sunday, January 27, 4:00 p.m.

This lecture will provide an international overview of the COVID experience on three continents from three surgeons. It will feature Dr. Ruffini from the University of Torino in Italy and the European Society of Thoracic Surgeons, Dr. Smith from Columbia University and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, and STS International Director Dr. Sihoe from Gleneagles Hospital in Hong Kong. 

In addition, Joseph A. Dearani, MD, will deliver his Presidential Address, which he promises will be a “very different experience,” on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. ET. 

Top Scientific Research

The J. Maxwell Chamberlain Memorial Papers, which represent some of the top-rated abstracts at the meeting, will be presented on Saturday morning during specialty-specific parallel sessions. Topics include transcatheter versus surgical approaches in the management of aortic stenosis and coronary artery disease, the impact of center volume on readmissions and mortality after congenital cardiac surgery, and lung transplant recipients who have a survival benefit after fundoplication. 

The Richard E. Clark Memorial Papers highlight research utilizing data from the STS National Database. These papers, also featured on Saturday, will highlight anticoagulation in new onset postoperative atrial fibrillation, utilization and outcomes of the Nikaidoh, Rastelli, and REV procedures, and national trends and outcomes of segmentectomy. 

For the first time, the program will include Chamberlain and Clark papers for critical care. The Chamberlain paper will explore failure to rescue as a new STS quality metric for cardiac surgery, and the Clark paper, using data from the Intermacs component of the STS National Database, will analyze failed bridge to transplant. 

Not-to-Miss Sessions

Throughout the STS 2021 program, attendees will find sessions that cover hot, top-of-mind subjects that are expected to draw especially large audiences. Some of these presentations include: 


  • Beyond EXCEL: A Discussion on Subsequent Research, Findings and Reflections on Importance of CABG in Treating Left Main Disease 
  • Frontiers in Lung Cancer
  • Surviving vs Thriving: Beyond Staying Afloat in Difficult Times


  • The Devil's in the Details: ACHD Nightmare Cases and Abstracts 
  • Trends and Outcomes in Adult Cardiac Surgery Patients During the COVID Pandemic: Analysis of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons Adult Cardiac Surgery Database
  • Patient-Reported Outcomes and Health Disparities in Lung Cancer Care


  • How Teams Work Together 
  • Heart Team Approach to Complex Valvular Heart Disease—Aortic Bioprosthesis with Structural Valve Degeneration 
  • ERAS Controversies 


  • Stop Suffering in Silence—Ergonomics for the Cardiothoracic Surgeon
  • COVID-19 and Cardiothoracic Surgical Training-Effects on Training and Workforce Utilization in a Global Pandemic

Hear from Experts around the World

STS 2021 also will feature a number of joint sessions with international medical societies such as the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS), the American Heart Association (AHA), the European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery (EACTS), the Canadian Society of Cardiac Surgeons (CSCS), and the Asian Society for Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery (ASCVTS).

A session from STS and AHA to be presented on Friday, “Management of Coronary Artery Disease in the Post-ISCHEMIA Era – Management Considerations for The Surgeon,” will examine the findings of the ISCHEMIA and EXCEL trials and delve into the nuances of modern revascularization techniques. 

On Saturday, the Society will join CSCS in, “Tricuspid Valve Surgery Associated with Left-Sided Cardiac Disease: When, What, and How?,” which will explore the natural history of tricuspid regurgitation associated with left-sided cardiac disease, the timing and indications of tricuspid valve treatment, as well as surgical and transcatheter therapies for tricuspid regurgitation.

STS will team up with EACTS on Sunday for the session, “Conduct of Operation: Cannulation, Circulation, and Arch Management.” Experts will discuss cannulation strategies and surgical options for arch management during acute type A dissection, the impact of a frozen elephant trunk on outcomes, the differences in outcome between hemiarch and more aggressive arch management, and the potential role of endovascular treatment of the ascending aorta in type A dissection.

For your viewing convenience, on-demand sessions “Transpacific Perspectives on the Management of Subsolid Lung Nodules” and “Aorta” will be available from STS/ASCVTS and STS/SVS, respectively. 

Shark Tank

The innovation plenary session and always-popular Shark Tank presentations will take place on Friday afternoon after the Lillehei Lecture. 

Shark Tank features entrepreneurs pitching their ideas for new technologies and groundbreaking techniques to a panel of experts. On deck for discussion: an ambulatory ECMO, a detachable head aortic cross clamp, and a mobile application for communication during organ procurement. These presentations will offer a glimpse into the possibilities that exist within the specialty.  

Industry Symposia and Exhibit Hall

Industry will continue to have a dedicated role at the STS Annual Meeting. 

In addition to dedicated time for companies to present educational sessions on their latest products and services, STS 2021 will include a virtual exhibit hall. Attendees can "tour the hall," clicking on booths to experience many of the aspects that typically are available at in-person meetings. The platform even allows participants to live-chat with exhibitors, schedule one-on-one meetings, or browse downloadable content. 

The STS Career Fair also will return—in virtual format—but still offering attendees the opportunity to connect with potential employers. More details will be available closer to the meeting.

Registration information and a link to the complete online program are available at sts.org/annualmeeting; registrants will soon be able to access the STS 2021 conference platform, which is expected to be available a few days before the meeting.